Factbox: COVID-19, carbon neutrality, opening up: what multinationals say on China

BEIJING, March 19 (Xinhua) — As China’s development blueprint for the next five to 15 years crystalizes, foreign businesses are eager to find out what new opportunities the country’s market and policy moves will provide after a challenging 2020.

A column on the website of the China Development Forum, which is to open on Saturday, has gathered opinions from foreign businesses on a wide range of topics including COVID-19, carbon neutrality and opening up.

The following are some key takeaways of their views:

COVID-19

— Ola Kallenius, chairman of the board of management, Daimler AG, chairman of the board of management, Mercedes-Benz AG

“It was paramount that the Chinese government took effective measures at an early stage of the pandemic and executed them thoroughly. This helped the Chinese market to recover more quickly than anywhere else.”

“But COVID-19 has also acted as a catalyst: the pandemic has given a great boost to digitization. And, for our industry, it has accelerated the transition to electric vehicles as well.”

“China is part of our past; an even bigger part of our present; and key to our future.”

— Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen, president & CEO, Novo Nordisk

“COVID-19 has demonstrated a collective obligation to find sustainable ways to reduce the health inequalities that exist on a global scale.”

“At the same time, we commend China’s effective control of the pandemic domestically as well as support to the global community.”

CARBON NEUTRALITY

— Soren Skou, CEO, A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S

“The challenges that we face today on climate change are global and cannot be solved by one country or one company alone.”

“Decarbonizing transport chains and the related energy value chains demand close collaboration and deliberate collective action from shipping companies, logistics providers, researchers, technology developers, consumers and legislators to transform the industry and move away from fossil-based technology.”

“China, as a globally leading trading and maritime nation, will be a crucial partner toward ensuring that our industry will be able to respond effectively to the climate change challenge.”

— Oliver Baete, chairman of the board of management & CEO, Allianz SE

“We are particularly pleased to see that China has embraced net zero, and is promising to go to net zero in CO2 emissions by 2060.”

“As we think about the contribution of the financial sector to making net zero a reality, there are a lot of things that we can do together. And China could play an even more important role than in the past.”

OPENING UP

— Ola Kallenius, chairman of the board of management, Daimler AG, chairman of the board of management, Mercedes-Benz AG

“I can assure you: We remain committed to further strengthening our footprint in your country. Not only because our largest production base for Mercedes-Benz cars is located here. But also because the Chinese automotive landscape has repeatedly surpassed our expectations.”

“At the same time, we believe it is in the best interests of China to pursue its policy of opening up — especially with regard to the announced roadmap for the automotive market and industry. Fair market access and a level playing field are essential.”

— Soren Skou, CEO, A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S

“We must set trade free to rebuild economies. Protectionism is equivalent to raising taxes on consumers and producers, which is the last thing the recovery needs.”

“We must restore trust in open trade. The perception that the benefits of trade are not fairly distributed within and between countries is a root cause of protectionism. But protectionism will only reduce the total wealth that can be distributed. To drive sustained recovery and economic growth, we need to restore a rules-based trading system which all participants have to commit to.” Enditem

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